Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) pressed the Obama Administration on why it appears that billions of dollars in unobligated funds aren’t being directed to a Zika response. The Administration, via Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, responded but did not address the senators’ questions about redirecting billions of dollars of available funds to the Zika response. Grassley made the following comment on Senate Democrats’ vote today to refuse to proceed to a House-approved bill to fight Zika.
“It seems that the Senate Democrats want a political issue, not a solution. They want to overlook that the Administration can’t or won’t discuss using existing money to fight Zika and why the agencies that are meant to protect the public from these outbreaks seem to be caught so flat-footed by Zika. They also want to overlook that both houses of Congress are willing to fund significant amounts of additional Zika funding. Instead, they want a blank check, knowing that won’t happen, so they can pretend fiscal conservatives don’t care about women and children. It doesn’t make sense except as a political stunt. I’ll keep pushing for what’s really needed.”